In what could be an act of defiance, hundreds of cannabis users called on the declassification of marijuana in front of the White House on April 2 in a unique way. They lit up their joints and even inflated a 51-foot plastic joint despite smoking being illegal in the area.
Called Reschedule 4/20, in reference to annual celebration of cannabis culture that includes smoking weed, the protest gathered the users on the north side of the White House in Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC as part of the emergency national mobilization to deschedule cannabis.
In the United States, marijuana remains to be a murky subject both in the federal and local levels, although certain states have already regulated its cultivation, sale and use. In Washington DC, the country's seat of power, cannabis legalization is done through Initiative 71, which was approved by ballot on Nov. 4, 2014, with 64.87 percent of the voters saying yes. The law took effect on Feb. 26, 2015 after the Congress, who previously stressed their desire to block it, failed to strike the initiative down.
However, marijuana continues to remain as part of Schedule I in the List of Controlled Substances, which implies that not only does it have no proof of medical or acceptable use, but it is also a very dangerous substance to have.
"As long as cannabis is treated in the same category of drugs as heroin, with no accepted medical use, police will continue to arrest & lockup our brothers and sisters," expressed DCMJ, a DC-based organization composed of growers and users who are tired of the "outdated" marijuana laws. Marijuana now accounts for more than 50 percent of arrests in the United States, according to American Civil Liberties Union.
Others also joined the mass protest to legalize marijuana for medical use. "There are so many medications I don't have to take because I smoke marijuana," said Sandra who takes the substance to treat her different conditions like sciatica and depression.
The protesters led by DCMJ founder Adam Eidinger also expressed their dismay on President Barack Obama who hinted early this year that declassification will not be one of his major agendas in 2016.
The march, which took the protesters near Vermont Avenue and K Street NW, went rather well with little tension when the Secret Service declined the group to bring the specially designed inflatable joint to Lafayette Square Park until the protesters decided to get it in while deflated.